I have an overabundance of good things in my life. I have four healthy children, a supportive husband, a comfortable home, and good health. I’ve had more opportunities to travel, think, be creative, and care for myself in the past year than I deserve. I feel joy, enthusiasm, and ambition on a daily basis.
I am challenging myself in ways I only dreamed of in the past.
I’ve temporarily stepped away from a steady career to explore more meaningful options. I get to work from home and be with my girls. I’m training for my first 10K, and can’t wait to get to that first half.
I’m in my thirties, feeling better than ever, and sometimes want to tackle more of the world than I reasonably should. But there is also another side of me.
There’s a side that sometimes forgets to breathe in gratitude for all of those amazing things. A side that loses track of her priorities; who sometimes forgets that there are good, better, and best choices. A side that knows she needs simplicity, but overschedules herself anyway. A side that’s exhausted at the end of the day when she needs to be there for her family.
There’s a side that’s trying to live undistracted, but sometimes finds herself on social media a little too often. A side that’s trying to keep a home in balance, but sometimes forgets to plan the meals or return the library books on time. A side that struggles with self-doubt, compares herself to others, and sometimes ungratefully wants more.
Have you ever felt like you’re winning and losing at the same time?
Chances are you have. You’re human in all of its frailties, just like me. Your struggles may look different, but you’re trying your best to build a meaningful life, and sometimes you’re hard on yourself.
5 Ways to Offer Yourself More Grace
In order to break through and experience the kind of life we want, we need to offer ourselves the gift of grace. Here are five ways to do that:
1. Kick perfection out the door.
Perfection will crush your dreams every time. It will always win, and you will always fall short. Toss the idea that you need to be perfect, and embrace who you are right now. Mistakes are proof that you are trying.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to curb the perfectionist in me. She’s not that fun to be around because she’s never getting ahead, and that creates a lot of friction.
2. Learn to recognize your limits.
I believe in pushing myself, and I also believe in slowing down. It’s a tricky balance, but when we listen to our heart, it will almost always point us in the right direction.
This past May, I had the opportunity to visit my sister in D.C. for nine days. We took long walks and quietly took in the wonder of the monuments all lit up at night. We walked and I listened to the feelings of my heart as the cool breeze blew gently through the trees.
“Take your foot off the gas, and focus solely on your family for a time,” it said. And so I did.
3. Take care of yourself.
You can set some things aside to allow yourself some room to breathe.
Lately, I’ve been devoting a good hour of my day to running. It pushes my schedule back a bit, but I can’t tell you how much mindfulness it brings to the rest of my day.
What makes you feel alive? Give yourself permission to do that. Whether it’s physical activity or plain old rest, your body needs it, and the overwhelm will feel like less when you’re done doing it.
4. Return to your center.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, often times I realize that I have distanced myself from the people and things that are central to my life. Like it’s somehow a punishment to allow myself connection to those things when I feel like I’m slipping or have messed up.
Allow yourself to move back and be there.
5. Practice forgiveness.
The other night we had guests coming for dinner, and our home was chaotic from all the after school busyness. Then my husband called to say he’d be late from a setback at work. I lost my patience and yelled at all four of my girls to get up and start helping. I was reckless, but they forgave me before I was able to forgive myself.
There’s something to say about that. Offer yourself the gift of forgiveness, and be willing to move on.
I’m doing my best to keep all of the good things in my life at the forefront of my mind—to let those things win. I know the best things in life are worth fighting for. I’m worth fighting for, and you are too. So let’s put on our boxing gloves and get to work, but let’s not forget to offer ourselves some grace in the process.